A week has passed since LeBron James trolled New York Knicks fans when the Lakers made their annual trip to Madison Square Garden. He was committed to the bit with his social media activity, shoe choice, and the Knicks towel he draped over his shoulders postgame. It was enough to convince Stephen A. that New York needed to trade for the all-time great.
If LeBron's intentions were to send a message to LA's front office days before the trade deadline, the Lakers didn't answer his call. Thursday came and went without Los Angeles making a trade. Rob Pelinka defended himself afterward by stating that in the offseason, the Lakers will have three tradable first-round picks versus the one they currently have.
Looking ahead to the future, it was a smart move for LA to make. However, when it comes to LeBron's future, the Lakers' decision to stand pat could mean the 39-year-old's time in Los Angeles will come to a close over the summer.
He has a $51.4 million player option for 2024-25 that he'd be wise to pick up, but he could also decline it to enter free agency. If that were to happen, NBA insider Marc Stein reported that a couple of teams think they will have a shot at signing LeBron (subscription required).
"I know of at least two teams on the NBA map that believe LeBron James would consider signing with them at far less than $51.4 million if Bronny James is on the roster. There might be more."- Marc Stein
Should Knicks consider drafting Bronny James to entice LeBron to become free agent?
LeBron has made it known that he'd like to share the court with Bronny before he retires. His 19-year-old son is in his first season at USC and is projected to be a second-round draft pick if he declares.
Bronny went into cardiac arrest in July and was miraculously cleared to return to basketball activities in November. That has understandably impacted his first season as a Trojan, so it wouldn't be a surprise if Bronny were to return to USC in 2024-25.
The young guard is averaging 5.8 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per game, shooting 35.6% from the field. If he enters the 2024 draft, he isn't going to make an immediate impact on whichever team selects him. If Bronny's father decided to follow him, that'd change everything.
If the Knicks are one of the teams that think they could convince LeBron to sign with them because they plan to draft Bronny, they should reconsider that stance. It's hard enough for rookies drafted in the first round to get Tom Thibodeau's attention, making it even more difficult for Bronny to do so. He'd spend the majority of his time in Westchester.
Would it be enough for LeBron to represent the same organization as Bronny? There's a slim chance he and Bronny would take the court together at MSG, although it could happen in garbage time.
New York's front office wouldn't be doing their due diligence if they didn't consider pursuing LeBron, but even if he were willing to take a pay cut, the Knicks shouldn't roll the dice on a Bronny-LeBron combo.